Notice to clients: Companies House has a backlog of orders and, as of 11th June at 9 a.m., is still processing orders received on 7th June.
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Choosing a company name

How to choose your Company name

The name you choose to give your company will be subject to Companies House approval. That is why Step 1 of forming a company is to check the availability of the proposed name. Our home page links directly with Companies House web check service and generates a report from them.

Companies House restricts and controls your choice of a company name by not allowing the following:

  • Names that are the “same as” existing names of companies already on the Register. The purpose of this restriction is to ensure the public knows which company is which.
  • Names that include “sensitive” words or expressions
  • Names that suggest a connection with the Government, devolved government or administration or a specified public authority.
  • Names that include words that would constitute an offence.
  • Offensive names

The “Same as” rule

Companies House has rules for determining whether a proposed name is the same as an existing company’s name. The following attempts to disguise the similarity of a proposed name will fail:

  • Adding words such as "International”, “ UK”, “services”, “www”,””,” .biz”
  • Inserting a blank space between or after a word, expression, character, sign or symbol
  • Inserting punctuation such as a full stop, comma, colon, bracket, apostrophe
  • Inserting characters "*", "=", "#", "%" and "+" as one of the first three characters in a name
  • Adding "s" at the end of the name (irrespective of whether it is a plural)

There are also words and expressions that will be considered to be the “same as”:

Examples are; "and" and "&", "plus" and "+", "1" and "one", "6" and "six", "€" and "euro", "$" and "dollar", "%" and "percent", "@" and "at". For more guidance see the Regulations

Exceptions to the “Same as” rule:

You can use the same name in the following circumstances:

  • When the proposed company will be part of the same group as an existing company
  • When the existing company consents to the registration of the proposed name
  • When the application to register includes a letter/statement from the existing company which confirms its consent to the incorporation of the new company name and that it will form part of the same group

You will need to supply documentary evidence to support your application to use the same name.

Sensitive words and expressions

There are words and expressions that cannot be included in a company name without additional evidence to justify their inclusion. These are words and expressions which, when included in a company or business name could:

  • Suggest business pre-eminence, a particular status, or a specific function
  • Imply a connection with a government department, devolved administration or, public authority
  • Cause a criminal offence

For a full list of sensitive words and expressions see the Sensitive words

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